Thursday, 12 October 2006
Defence Forces Staff.
Question 10: To ask the Minister for Defence his views on concerns expressed by the PDFORRA General Secretary at their annual conference that agreed procedures and criteria laid down by Defence Forces headquarters in relation to promotions within the Defence Forces have not been properly implemented; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32307/06]
Question 19: To ask the Minister for Defence the procedures and criteria for promotion within the Defence Forces; if the promotion criteria and procedures are being adhered to; if he will respond to the criticism by PDFORRA at their annual conference of current practices in relation to promotions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32257/06]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 19 together.
The regulations governing the promotion of enlisted personnel are provided for in Defence Force regulations A 10, part II, as issued by the Minister for Defence. The more detailed procedures and criteria for the promotion of enlisted personnel are further provided for in "A" administrative instruction, Defence Forces, part 10, as issued by the deputy chief of staff, support.
Promotions to the rank of corporal are effected by the general officers commanding of formations, in accordance with the Defence Force regulations A 10, paragraph 38 and Defence Forces, "A" administrative instruction, part 10. Promotions above the rank of corporal are effected by the deputy chief of staff, support, in accordance with the Defence Force regulations A 10, paragraph 42 and Defence Forces, "A" administrative instruction, part 10.
The Defence Forces internal grievance procedures allow individual personnel who feel that procedures have not been applied properly to appeal to higher authority. The Defence Forces have been actively engaged with PDFORRA in examining the current promotion systems since early this year through a subcommittee of the conciliation and arbitration council with a view to agreeing a new revised promotion scheme.
The Minister stated there are two separate systems, one below the rank of corporal and one above. Do we have a standardised system that is adhered to fairly and strongly by the relevant people? Part of PDFORRA's criticism was that individual senior officers more or less take the law unto themselves and determine the criteria. Two tiers of criteria seem to operate, namely, the standardised criteria and the informal criteria applied by individual senior officers.
At the end of his reply, the Minister mentioned that a review will take place of the new promotions criteria to be established. Will the Minister elaborate on what that will entail, when we can expect it and how it will operate within the various ranks?
I do not have any independent evidence that the present promotional system is not strictly adhered to as intended. A number of experts are of the view the present system must be updated and the Department of Defence has accepted that. Departmental officials and PDFORRA are discussing a mutually agreeable new system and that reply also applies to the final question. The matter is in conciliation and arbitration and they are working it out between them. Ultimately, whatever scheme they agree will come to me for approval, and we will consider the details. I want to let the two parties involved in conciliation and arbitration work it out between them.